I had not expected when I was younger that some day I would be the oldest guy left working in an office of lawyers. Nor did I expect that this mere happenstance would force me to evaluate the wisdom, if any, I had accumulated over the soon to be sixty six years of my existence.
I remember speaking with one of the young lawyers who works with me shortly after he was hired in the Spring of 2014. He told me he did not believe in “good and evil.” Given the area of law we work in this surprised me until I remembered back to when I was his age — mid twenties. I, too, back then was reluctant to define “evil” and give it a face.
When I was younger I avoided having to confront the concept of evil by believing in the basic goodness which I thought, without the evidence of much experience, was “lowest common denominator” of beliefs upon which all humans, no matter our various races or cultures, could agree upon. I thought humanity’s appreciation for the sanctity of human life, the opportunity to love, and the the absence of cruelty were things we as a species could agree upon. Over time, both through my study of history and the observations of my lifetime I have come to the conclusion that evil does exist in this world and that it is imperative that it be recognized and called out.
The young lawyer and I did not engage in any great debate about “good and evil” because I saw myself in him as a young man, and knew the observations of my life could not ring true for him and we moved on to talk about the law.
It was only a few months later that I had a similar conversation with another young lawyer. Our office is composed of young lawyers (members of the “Millennial generation”) and me (a baby boomer). We were talking and as I recall it he said he had ended a relationship because he was an “atheist”. I recall asking him why he was an atheist instead of an agnostic? He explained with lawyer-like precision, he was an “atheist”; meaning he did not question whether God existed; he knew God did not exist. I remembered back to when I was an atheist.
I looked away from his face, toward the wall of my office where all of my diplomas and bar admissions were hung and said: “But you don’t know if you will be an atheist when you are 65, do you?” “No, I don’t” he answered. Still looking at the wall, I asked “why?.” He answered: “I’m not 65 yet.”
I realized for me there was a tipping point where experience had replaced education as the source of my knowledge and whatever wisdom I have developed over time. I now know within myself and for myself that there is God in my life. I don’t know precisely when I took my first leaps of faith, but ever since I did I have experienced the strength of the rock upon which I now walk. I also know beyond all doubt that there is “good” and there is “evil” in our world. Many choose to ignore the obvious evil which exists here because its shadow has not yet become an inescapable darkness upon them yet. Ignoring that evil which affects our neighbors is not consistent with God’s law, which takes precedence over those corrupt human laws which purport to bestow God’s resources upon only a few; rather than all his children.
We celebrate Christmas as the time Jesus Christ was born in human form so as teach us while He lived and through His preordained death provide us salvation through our Creator. Christians should not let our joy of his birth, and the materialism which has become associated with this time, distract us from his life and teachings.
Rather, when so few have managed to steal so much of the Lord’s blessings from the people for whom they were created, we should contemplate an equitable plan to disburse the world’s resources among all peoples.